Authors: Lohithaksha Chengappa and Prof. Dr. Richard C. Geibel
Abstract: This study suggests a theoretical component to the thus far proposed explanations of what makes a startup incubator successful in enabling entrepreneurial activity. Departing from a traditional focus on industry- and nation-wide resources, we develop a framework of the critical success factors for a startup incubator and a scoring mechanism to evaluate the success of existing startup incubators using these factors. We score a selection of American and European incubators using the developed scoring mechanism and comparatively benchmark the European incubators against the American ones to identify areas for improvement. Our findings suggest that European incubators, while relatively strong overall, can look to and learn from their American counterparts in certain areas. Importantly, these improvement areas are not specific to characteristics of any individual European incubator, but to European incubators overall. Finally, we aim to expand this study to other entrepreneurship hubs worldwide and we outline a plan of action to enable this expansion.
Keywords: critical success factors, incubator scoring mechanism, American startup incubator, European startup incubator, comparative benchmarking, areas for improvement, incubator best practices